DVDs: French Classics
In director Jean-Pierre Melville's Le SamouraÏ (1967), existentialism isn't cruel but cool. Alain Delon, sporting a rakish fedora that perfectly frames his face, is a freelance hit man whose controlled professionalism (particularly when things go wrong) is just another indicator of his isolation from the rest of humanity. Images are sharp, with excellent contrast; the blue-gray color scheme makes the picture seem like tinted black-and-white, but skin tones are natural throughout. The soundtrack is crisp, and its effects - atmospheric bird cries, off-screen tires on rainy streets - are some of the best I've heard in a mono track. Extras include interviews with the director and cast and a 30-page essay booklet. Both: French (with English subtitles), Dolby Digital mono. Wages: full frame (1.33:1); two dual-layer discs. Le SamouraÏ: letterboxed (1.85:1) and anamorphic widescreen; dual layer.